Reimagining Law: Succeeding in the New Professional Development Environment

In this episode of Reimagining Law, we talk to Valarie K. Howard, Senior Manager of Talent Evaluations and On Boarding at Jenner & Block, and Morgan L. Smith, Professional Development Director at Dykema. Valarie and Morgan talk about navigating the new professional development environment in the legal profession, the opportunities that COVID-19 has created, and the importance of mentorship during a pandemic.

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  • 0:49 – As you reflect on 2020, how has professional development in the legal profession been impacted?
  • 4:30 – How have conversations and actions evolved this year around DEI? Where do you see that going in the future?
  • 8:03 – How has mentoring supported new and more established attorneys at your firm? Why is this so important during the pandemic?
  • 12:30 – What positive opportunities has this new professional development environment created?
  • 15:04 – How can lawyers prioritize professional development during COVID-19?

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Valarie K. Howard

Valarie K. Howard is the Senior Manager of Talent Evaluations and On Boarding at Jenner & Block, where she develops and executes the onboarding processes for new associates and lateral attorneys. Valarie is a seasoned law firm manager who is passionate about learning and development. She has extensive experience managing attorney training, mandatory continuing legal education (CLE), and mentor programs. Connect with Valarie on LinkedIn.

Morgan L. Smith

Morgan L. Smith is the Professional Development Director at Dykema, where she is responsible for the design, implementation, and evaluation of the firm’s attorney training and professional development programs with an emphasis on attorney integration, retention and mentoring, and specialized programs developed to align with the firm’s needs. Prior to joining Dykema in 2010, Morgan worked in professional development, legal recruiting, diversity, and personnel at firms in Chicago, Cleveland, New York, and Hartford, CT. Connect with Morgan on LinkedIn.

About Reimagining Law

The Reimagining Law video series explores how legal and judicial professionals are adapting the delivery of services to meet the unique needs of today’s consumers. Reimagining Law is produced by the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism.

Recorded on November 25, 2020.

Check out more episodes of Reimagining Law here.

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